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Dimensions of perceived racism and self-reported health: examination of racial/ethnic differences and potential mediators.

Brondolo E, Hausmann LR, Jhalani J, Pencille M, Atencio-Bacayon J, Kumar A, Kwok J, Ullah J, Roth A, Chen D, Crupi R, Schwartz J. Dimensions of perceived racism and self-reported health: examination of racial/ethnic differences and potential mediators. Annals of behavioral medicine : a publication of the Society of Behavioral Medicine. 2011 Aug 1; 42(1):14-28.

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BACKGROUND: Many details of the negative relationship between perceived racial/ethnic discrimination and health are poorly understood. PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to examine racial/ethnic differences in the relationship between perceived discrimination and self-reported health, identify dimensions of discrimination that drive this relationship, and explore psychological mediators. METHODS: Asian, Black, and Latino(a) adults (N = 734) completed measures of perceived racial/ethnic discrimination, self-reported health, depression, anxiety, and cynical hostility. RESULTS: The association between perceived discrimination and poor self-reported health was significant and did not differ across racial/ethnic subgroups. Race-related social exclusion and threat/harassment uniquely contributed to poor health for all groups. Depression, anxiety, and cynical hostility fully mediated the effect of social exclusion on health, but did not fully explain the effect of threat. CONCLUSIONS: Our results suggest that noxious effects of race-related exclusion and threat transcend between-group differences in discriminatory experiences. The effects of race-related exclusion and threat on health, however, may operate through different mechanisms.

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